Here Right Now explores the future that’s already here.
Every week a special guest brings a new perspective on how a facet of everyday life is changing right now. Through their expert eyes we go deep into emerging new trends around the world.
#6: Scaling the healthy world of Zwift with Eric Min, CEO
Imagine thousands of people sprinting hard on a real bike at home, yet also congregated in a hyper-colored biome filled with mega-redwood trees and dinosaurs - yes, dinosaurs.
Each rider pedalling like crazy to set a new personal best, unlock a new virtual bike or ‘Everest’ after hours slaving and sweating. Imagine these thousands of humans riding communally, together, but digitally, often thousands of miles apart.
Today our special guest Eric Min, founder and CEO, gives us a compelling insight into the growth and design of Zwift, the ‘massively multiplayer online game’ that blends real physical effort with a virtual world to create an experience that is augmenting and evolving the world of cycling.
With hundreds of thousands of cyclists pouring from their bikes at home into the colorful, addictive biomes of Zwift through both hobby and lockdown, this hybrid healthy game isn’t just for the amateurs: this summer, the world’s peak cycling event, the official Tour de France conducted competitive races, linking racers around the world across their stationary bikes to fight for the Yellow Jersey. An incredible progression in traditional sporting practice, and a brave and serendipitous opportunity in global pandemic.
What we can learn from Zwift is about so much more than just cycling.
If this combination of…
‘real’ and digital
amateur and professional
addictive and healthy
…isn’t a fascinating part of how the world is changing around us right now, I don’t know what is! We talk about game mechanics, public health, wellbeing and obesity, professional sport, virtual/physical, scaling a community, and what’s tough about the challenges ahead.
And my lively discussion with Eric builds beautifully on the themes and core concepts established in our very first episode ‘Exploring esports’ with the brilliant Angela Natividad, which is required listening and a great companion to follow up with after this deep dive with Eric.
Friends, I do this for the impact (and the really interesting conversations!), so please help me grow Here Right Now by rating the show on Apple Podcasts, sharing with friends you think will enjoy it, and talk to me on Twitter with your feedback :) It all adds.
Eric Min on Twitter
How to get started on Zwift with a Smart Trainer - Zwift Insider
Zwift Stories - Mathew Hayman wins Paris-Roubaix (11 min video)
Zwift raises $450 million for gamified fitness to cycle past Peloton - VentureBeat
Lee Rosevere for music
Will McInnes 00:02
So I'm incredibly privileged today to have Eric min, the CEO and founder of Zwift here with us. Hi, Eric.
eric min 00:09
I will. Thanks for having me.
Will McInnes 00:11
How are you today?
eric min 00:13
Great. Another rainy day in London.
Will McInnes 00:19
Yes, beautiful weather. So this isn't the first time we've met, I was churning away on the bike, doing the build me up programme in Zwift. And someone flew past me and gave me a thumbs up which people use with full nodes called ride on. And I saw the name pop up. And I was like, Wait a second, I recognise that name. So while I was on the bike pedalling away, sweating into my iPhone, I googled you. And yeah, you'd give me a thumbs up, and it absolutely made my right. And I just wonder, do you? Do you do that? Do you routinely it's either you or a bot? I was basically like they've either created a bot. That's Eric, or is the real
eric min 01:08
guy. It's funny. I saw this on Facebook thread. About the same question. You know, I've gotten from Eric, is this a? Is this an automated script, a bot? Or is it really Eric? And as a discussion thread went on? And people said, Yeah, no, it's really hard because I am on Zwift every day. And as I would do in the real world, out on the road, of course, I'm going to acknowledge someone who
#5: Digitizing the City of San Francisco with Carrie Bishop
Today our special guest Carrie Bishop shares her unique perspective into how public services and cities are being transformed digitally in her role as Chief Digital Services Officer for the City and County of San Francisco.
San Francsico, the metropolitan jewel of the Bay Area, birthplace of high tech and hippie cultures, and itself right on top of the fault line criss-crossing the globe dividing those with high income and those with no income. And if that wasn’t a poignant enough backdrop for this work, for this progressive agenda, Carrie and her team have been re-designing and upgrading those public services surrounded by wild fires, in a pandemic, as unrelenting structural racism exploded into the Black Lives Matter movement and counter-protests, and with the Presidential election looming…
Whatever the circumstances, day in and day out, our public services underpin so much of the fabric of our lives - schools, streetlights, sewers, permits, parking, policing. Cities do a lot. In San Francisco, the city provides more than 900 different lines of business.
But as you know yourself, around the world, and even in SF, these critical services are often delivered by paper, by PDF and spreadsheet, through processes and systems made for a different time. So how would you think about transforming those for modern, mobile, digitally morphed times? Where would you prioritize? And what should be the guiding principles?
the impact of public health crises, the impact of climate change, the impact of economic inequalities, impact of structural racism, like all of those things are kind of products in part of poor public service design
From our conversation I hope you’ll gain a deeper perspective on the gritty realities of ‘digital transformation’ in public services, since it affects us all. You’ll bounce between an exhilarating aerial view of what can be possible, back down to an unfussy account from the frontline of just how creaky legacy systems that power our world can be and how hard-won the victories are. And you’ll hear an amusing takedown on the shiny ‘smart cities’ agenda too…
Get involved and please rate, share, talk to me on Twitter with your feedback :)
Carrie Bishop on Twitter
‘Digital Services and the Apocalypse’ - by Carrie on Medium
San Francisco Digital Services
Lee Rosevere for music
Will McInnes 00:00
Okay, I've hit record. Hello, Carrie.
carrie bishop 00:04
Will McInnes 00:06
So I can see you're in sunny California right now.
I am. Yeah, I'm actually in Napa, California, which is a famous wine growing region.
Will McInnes 00:15
You're in Napa? Yes. Yes. Those already jealous before this, this conversation started and now you just casually dropping in world famous wine country.
Yeah, it's It is beautiful here for sure.
Will McInnes 00:32
That's wonderful. How long have you been there in Napa?
Well, actually, literally since March when I already had this house up here, but living in the city. And the idea was, we're just going to rent it out. And then the whole world change setting in San Francisco went into a long period of shelter in place, as we called it locked down, I guess it's called a DK. And at that point, you know, in this been living in San Francisco didn't have the space really or like the means to be able to work from home, I just thought, you know, I have this place in episode, I came up here, and I've been living up here full time. And that person's March, basically, which I feel so fortunate to have this space, because I know so many people who choose to grapple with this completely different life we're living and don't have that kind of privilege. But yeah, it's it's definitely been interesting.
Will McInnes 01:23
That's cool. We'll definitely be getting into that
#4: Online Investigations and Open Source Intelligence with Eliot Higgins
In this episode we discover and explore how a new kind of citizen journalism is changing the world with Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat, the foremost pioneer worldwide in online investigations and open source analysis, whose work uses publicly available online resources and content freely - and often bizarrely - shared in social media to expose alleged Russian state killers, identify the exact anti-aircraft unit involved in the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 and prosecute murderers of innocent children and their mothers in Cameroon.
From this very practical, deeply determined work from his home - and alongside a growing team and crowdsourcing community - Higgins has built up a unique global expertise.
Through our discussion, you’ll hear Eliot’s stories and practical examples that range across some of the biggest events and news stories in the world. You’ll learn about the workflow and tools of open source investigation and intelligence brought to these global events, the motivating forces of accountability and justice, and we get properly into the timely topic of conspiracy theories, including QAnon, manufactured consent, misinformation and propaganda - a topic that first bubbled up in conversation with Eric in Episode 2, ‘Deep Fake, bots & Synthetic Art with Eric Drass’.
I’m pretty sure this episode with the founder of Bellingcat will get you thinking more about the power of online communities in our lives - both for good and for bad, as well as casting a comically amateurish light on how evil perpetrators handle themselves in digital spaces.
Eliot Higgins on Twitter
Eliot Higgins - Wikipedia
‘We Are Bellingcat’ book - available for pre-order
Lee Rosevere for music
Will McInnes 00:04
Now today we have a very special guest, who's going to expand your mind about the world of online investigations until this moment, You might not believe that you could credibly prove the identity of highly trained undercover Russian killers. The origin and type of chemical weapons used in an attack in Syria, or the exact location where an American journalist was assassinated, just from online research, but you can, or more accurately, Eliot Higgins and the team and crowdsourcing community he's built up bellingcat can do prove all of this. They don't just prove it. Their work reaches international courts, law enforcement agencies and worldwide media, bringing justice to victims and accountability to the world's most feared perpetrators. So let's dive right in and learn more about what's here right now. So Elliot, thank you so much for being here with us today. I've been following You and your work for years now is just trying to dig around the internet and do my own online investigation and try and find out how long I've been following you for but I couldn't, couldn't quite get to the bottom of it. But you've come a long way. And the practices and tools and quality of your work has has had a really meaningful impact. And I just have so much respect for what you've achieved. How did you get going, like where did this all begin?
Eliot Higgins 02:26
It really started probably back in 2011, with the conflict in Libya, where I was just spending a lot of time online kind of arguing with people on the internet about things and I was interested in the Arab Spring what was happening there just because my own kind of interests in you know, I kind of grew up between the first Gulf War and the second Gulf War in 2003. And the kind of build up of that and kind of misinformation around that and the discussions around it kind of fueled my interest in kind of Middle East and US foreign policy. In a kind of Europe's in the UK, his involvement in that. So obviously Libya and what was happening there was of great interest. But with the in
#3: The Future of Food with Dr Morgaine Gaye
It underpins our society and the way that we live, the way we share. We commune, it's cultural, it's religious, it's societal. It's everything that we do. But it's also - as I say - just dinner. And so it has lots of meanings and it has, in some ways, no meaning at all.
In this episode, fellow adventurers, we’re exploring the future of food, glorious food.
I talk to food futurologist Dr Morgaine Gaye about her trend forecasting that supports innovation at global brands like Unilever, Mondelez and Mars. Our conversation is wide-ranging and lively - you’ll hear Morgaine’s rarely-shared predictions for future themes in our food, find out how she became a futurologist, confront what Dr Gaye believes will be an extended period of disruption and unearth newer, clearer connections between fashion, technology, geopolitics and broad societal change.
I hope you enjoy our conversation and take something away that you can apply in your life and in your conversations :)
Please shout with any feedback you have, and if you liked the podcast, do give us a rating - I truly appreciate it.
Dr Morgaine Gaye - website
Morgaine Gaye - Instagram
Lorne Armstrong of Fathom XP for the introduction
Ross Breadmore for continued support and ideas
Lee Rosevere for intro music
Will McInnes 03:10
I was thinking before this, it would just be brilliant. To get a sense of your story. Like how, how did you get to being a food futurologist? You don't like this question!
Dr Morgaine Gaye 03:25
Oh, goodness, this is the hard. This is the hardest of all questions, really, I think like most people, they end up doing a job that they didn't expect to be doing. And I also believe that the thing that we think about trying to avoid is the thing that we draw to us. And definitely, as a teenager, might you know what this the only subjects I really hated at school was what we used to call home economics, which was sort of cooking and sewing and I really didn't like it at all, and I had some horrible disasters that really, were soul destroying in the cookery class where I ended up with the largest 10 on everybody else got the tins first for the Victoria sponge, I got the I got I got the 10 that was too big. So my Victoria sponge never met in the middle. And it was just like a thin wisp of emptiness in the middle and it was, I mean the whole thing itself must have been less than a centimetre thick. It was a poor link like a pancake. And I didn't even take it home was just horrible. So so those are those sorts of food experiences. And my mother was a butcher and my father was a bodybuilder who a power lifter actually and used to sort of want to bulk up so would be eating baby food has calories back in those days and all of the things that you could do to gain weight so there's a lot of I found mealtimes with the family really stressful. I didn't like it. I was always forced to eat things I didn't want to hear I just food was just for me, not a pleasant space. And I definitely remember thinking that is definitely not a place. I want to go Don't want to be involved in food whatsoever and low and low Here we are. But I do think that really my title food futurologists is a little bit of a red herring because the food part does make people think that I am eating my way around fabulous restaurants in the world or know a lot about cooking or, and really that is the very small end of the wedge of what I do, which is a lot more, I suppose, anthropological or distich trend forecasting. So I'm looking at lots of other things in order to forecast and think about future scenarios. And food is is the biggest part because of course, it underpins our society and the way that we live the way we share. We, we commune, it's cultural, it's religious, it's societal. It's everything that we do. But it's also it is also
#2: Deep Fake, bots & Synthetic Art with Eric Drass
I talk to respected synthetic artist Eric Drass - who you may know as Shardcore - about his work playing with neural networks, Deep Fake, bots and, underneath it all, the increasingly pressing question of how we can know what is true and what is not
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#1: Exploring esports with Angela Natividad
This episode we learn about the fascinating, fast-growing, sprawling world of esports with special guest Angela Natividad.
Angela is a co-founder of Hurrah Group, a passel of creative companies dedicated to esports and gaming, and advisory board member of Women in Games WIGJ, all of which give her an incisive first-hand perspective on this world that blends the play and popular culture of video games with the performance-orientation of sport and athleticism.
Our conversation spans gaming culture, esport stereotypes, the brand of sports vs esports, athleticism and health, the quirks of intellectual property law & the business of esport - a freeranging conversation about part of the world I knew so little about beforehand.
I hope you enjoy our discussion. I’d love your feedback - please share encouragements and suggestions by reply or on Twitter - I’ll read every pixel.
And if you enjoyed it, please share - we want Here Right Now to grow :)
Angela Natividad @luckthelady / Instagram / LinkedIn
Hurrah Group - the esports and gaming advertising agency
Ed Mancey, Ross Breadmore & Georgia Tregear for first listens and essential feedback
Jack McInnes & Ross Breadmore for editing and production support
Lee Rosevere for intro music
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